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Coffee Culture in "Little Brother"

Unpacking the Coffee Ritual



"Not the coffee, nor the coffeehouse is the longing of the soul
A friend is what the soul longs for, coffee is just the excuse” -Turkish Proverb



We love coffee. The entire human race does. Ive yet to meet an individual who dislikes it. And I am not talking about the drink specifically. I'm talking about the culture. From awkward first dates to reuniting with an old friend, meeting over coffee has become an instinct of humankind. You sit down, you grab your drink and a pastry, and converse about whatever topic suits the occasion as you sip on your thoughts as well as your coffee. For some, the coffeehouse is a morning business meeting that is the only way to start the day. For others, its akin to a day spa, a time to sit back and share a laugh. This carries true in the novel “Little Brother” as well.

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The coffeehouse has served as a meeting place for so many an event

Coffee serves as a medium for Marcus to interact with others. It can be seen when he discuses his experiences with Darryl’s dad and Barbera Stratford, as well as when Marcus speaks with his father and with his friends.

"I'm sorry," he (Darryl’s father) said vaguely. "I don't really have any coffee to offer you. I'm having more groceries delivered tomorrow so I'm running low ญญ” …

"I have coffee on," she said. "Who wants some?"
We all put up our hands. I glared defiantly at my parents….”

“Jolu looked at me over his coffee.”


Important meetings happen over coffee. His dates involve coffee. Marcus practically IS coffee. Coffee continues to be a lifeline throughout the book and throughout human history. So the next time you have an important conversation, ask yourself how is your coffee that you will inevitably be drinking.